CITY STAFF WILL BE KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR
PLEASE ANSWER THE DOOR FOR CITY STAFF
City officials want to let the public know to answer the door when staff come knocking in the next two to three weeks.
Residents of seven streets in the southwest corner of town, including Farm and Allen Streets, can expect to have staff with the Pee Dee Council of Governments knock at their door in the coming weeks to complete an income survey.
Staff will have picture identification cards and business cards on hand to provide to anyone who requests them.
Data from the income survey will be included in a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application for sewer repairs in that neighborhood. Without accurate and current numbers, federal funding will not be available.
We understand that residents are skeptical about someone coming to their door asking these types of questions, but there is no other way to gather the information we need to apply for these funds.
Without these numbers, we won’t have a chance at getting a grant to help us solve the issues for nearby residents.
Lisa Rock, Director of Economic Development and Planning
Survey questions that residents can expect to be asked:
- How many people live in your household?
- What race are the residents of the household?
- How many people over age 65 live in the household?
- Does this house have a female head of household?
- How many children live in the household? We will ask how many under age 6 and how many under age 18.
- What is the household income? They will be given a list of choices of income ranges similar to the following:
- Under $20,000
- $20,000 to $40,000
- $40,000 to $75,000
- $75,000 and up
You will NOT be asked to give out your Social Security number, Medicare or Medicaid information, or banking account numbers. You will NOT be asked to give a specific dollar amount for your household income.
If anyone asks you for those, contact the Darlington Police Department immediately.
The sewer problems in this neighborhood have been ongoing for years with sewage bubbling up in the streets during Hurricane Matthew and major rain events. Residents have complained to City staff and councils, and the City investigated possible solutions. However, the fix will be more than the City can fund on its own, so the City has to turn to competitive grant funds again.
The City has applied for grant funding for this project before, but staff could not get enough community participation – i.e. answers to the income survey – to meet federal requirements.
So the project went nowhere.
The timing comes as a new round of CDBG funds will be available soon according to the Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments, one of 10 regional planning and technical assistance organizations in South Carolina organized by state law to serve local governments.
“City Council wants to see all areas of town get the infrastructure improvements necessary for all our residents to prosper,” says City Manager Howard Garland.
Under Garland’s leadership since 2010, the City has invested millions in infrastructure improvements all over town, including upgrades and repairs to the treatment plant, lift stations, and water towers as well as expanding the Bypass industrial area’s sewer capacity.